the place name is writtengu-bi-na, gu-biki-na, and gu-bi-na
(line 152). At least three different locations have been suggested for this place name; an area near Magan (the region
of the Jebel Akhdar, Oman) Bactria or the Zagros (Edzard
et a/. 1977, 62 for bibliography). In the "Curse of Agade"
Gubi was the homeland ofthe Gutians, who, according to the
tradition represented by the composition, were responsible
for the demise of the Agade empire. Some scholars place
gu-bi-(in}*' in the Persian Gulf area because it is mentioned
in the Gudea inscription along with Magan, Meluhha (the
Indus valley area) and Dilmun (Bahrein); and in another
inscription, KHALUB-wood is said to be imported from
Magan (Cooper 1983, 249). The "Curse ofAgade" mentions
gu-bi-(in}*' as the mountain home of the Gutians, so "Wilcke
( .. . ) now suggests the Zagros area" (Cooper 1983, 149). Gubi
as the provenience of the KHALUB-tree is consistent in
texts dating from the third to the first millenium BCE (Early
Dynastic to Neo-Assyrian times).
Ur III administrative texts give a coherent picture; the
KHALUB-tree was used for chairs, legs of beds, tables and
stools, and its scraps were used to make vessels. Occasionally, these (fruit and/or seed) of the tree were listed as food
offerings along with dried fruit (apples and raisins; see, among
others, Pettinato and Picchioni 1978, no. 85, Waetzold eta/.
Furthermore, Sumerian literary texts from the Old Babylonian period (2000- 1600 BCE) sometimes associate the
KHALUB-tree with the TASKARIN (Akk. taskarinnu),
which is thought to be boxwood (Buxus sp.); see for instance
"Gilgamesh Enkidu and the Netherworld" (Gadotti 2005,
Shaffer 1963 ), "Gilgamesh and Huwawa," version A (George
Finally, Akkadian sources also provide useful information
about the tree itself:
Taxa• AssociatedwiOt Plan.tedor
flowing water grows wild
Riparian types-Populus (poplar), Salix yes yes
(willow), Tamari.x (tamarisk),
Phoenix dactylifera (date p aim) yes (also watered) planted
Conifers- Juniperus Guniper), Pinus N o wild only
Quercus (oak) N o wild only
Pistacia (pistachio) N o yes
Prunus spp. (stone fruits-almond, no (but watered) y es
cherry, plum, et al.)
Pome frui s~us (apple, pear), no (but watered) yes
Cydonia (quince), et al.
Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) no (but watered) yes
Ziziphus Gujube, et al.) no (but may yes
(i) It seems that the tree was not particularly big, as it came
in small logs (e.g. Lanfranchi and Parpola 1990, no. 208,
Marzalm 1991, no. 46;
(ii) The KHALUB-tree produces se (seeds or fruits) which are
edible; the seeds and leaves of the tree appear in medical
texts (CAD KH 56 s. v. khaluppu);
(iii) By the Neo-Assyrian period, there is some indication that
the KHALUB-tree (written u-lu-pu) was grown in northern
Mesopotamia in controlled environments, namely in orchards,
as evidenced by the so-called Harran Census (CAD KH 56
s. v. kmluppu, Fales 1973).
Bothmythical and non-mythical KHALUBrefertotheuse of
the wood for furniture and small objects, and the presumably
small or shrubby tree may be planted. The mythical version
is further associated with water. The non-mythical tree may
grow either wild orin orchards, has useful fruits (we presume
the non-botanical concept of a fleshy fruit) and/or seeds with
medicinal use, and it seems to be widespread in west Asia.
Miller's first thought on hearing the textual evidence was,
"must be some kind of Prunus (stone fruit)", but it is worth
considering some alternatives.
Many scholars tentatively translated "oak" for this term
(see CAD KH 55- 56 s. v. halupp u), but there is no specific
evidence provided for this (e.g. see Glassner 2000, 26, Powell
1987, 146, van de Mieroop 1992, 159, Veldhuis 1997, 156).
Table 25.1 provides a non-exhaustive list of some common
trees of west Asia. It summarises some of the key traits mentioned in the texts in relation to various taxa; types associated
with flowing water, some of the most common genera of
the west Asian woodland Guniper, pine, oak, pistachio) and
several fruit-producing trees.
Based on the clues provided by the ancient texts it would
be hard to decide among Ziziphus sp. (e.g. Z. jujuba (L. )Lam.,
Small or Wood Fruit SeedwiOt
sluubby habit (at fme- jleslty medicinal
least some) grained uses**
tamarisk, willow tamarisk no no
no no yes yes
juniper (some) juniper juniper "berry" juniper
yes no no; edible nut no
yes yes no; edible nut yes
yes yes yes (except yes
yes yes y es yes
yes; frequently medium yes yes
yes; frequently no yes yes
• Not e that many of these trees have relatively undisputed names in Akkadian or Sumerian: poplar, willow, tamarisk, date, juniper, oak (Akkadian only),
pistachio, almond, apple, pear, quince (Postgate 1983; Veldhuis 1997).
**Some parts of nearly all of these plants have some medicinal use reported; the seeds of the riparian species are not among them. For these, and oak,
pistachio, Russian olive, stone and pome fruits, see entries in the Flora of Iraq; for the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and jujube (Zizyplms jujuba), see
http :l/www.hort.purdue. edu/newcrop/Indices/index _ ab. html
Table 25.1. Nonexhaustive list of some common tree genera of west Asia and traits associated with KHALUB in the texts.
- download the PDF for the rest
This khalub is IMO almost certainly the coconut palm, pokok kelapa, Coco nucifera.
-lub ~ ***@Tocharian: leaf, ~
list(o)@Croatian: leaf, ~ roof/leaf/leave/loft/eave/loaf, it refers to palm frond thatch, such as duom palm huts on the Red Sea shore.